A gas fireplace provides you with continuous, constant heat, is easy to operate, and is environmentally friendly. High heat efficiency alongside low running costs combines to offer warmth and beauty with the authenticity of a real gas flame effect.

When you shop for a gas fireplace there are choices to be made with regards to gas fireplace venting options. Do you need one or not? Read on…

Understanding Fireplace Venting

Poor fireplace ventilation can be caused by blockages in the chimney such as animal nests, faulty dampers, or an incorrectly sized flue cap. Backdrafting – where the negative air pressure in the room causes hot gases and combustion by-products to be sucked back into the room – is another problem that can affect venting.

And fireboxes that aren’t the correct ratio to the chimney gases from the fireplace could back up into your home.

Without proper venting, you may be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which can lead to illness and be fatal. Correct venting will ensure all harmful by-products flow directly outside without compromising indoor air quality.

How do gas fireplaces vent? This frequently asked question can be answered simply – generally a fixed glass front will seal the gas burner and combustion firebox off. All combustion air will be drawn through a coaxial pipe. And a smaller pipe will eliminate all combustible gases, maintaining indoor air quality.

There are several options to choose from and these are highlighted below:

Direct vent gas fireplace

This style uses a dual venting system – either through the roof or a side wall – to bring in outside air for combustion, and send combustion by-products outside. The firebox of a direct vent fireplace is completely sealed which ensures that the air inside the fireplace never meets the air inside the room.

Direct vent fireplaces are extremely versatile as they can be installed anywhere within the home due to their sealed design system and sidewall venting possibilities.

Installing a direct vent gas fireplace needs the expertise of a trusted and experienced fireplace installation professional. You’ll be assured of a setup that meets all current clearance rules and regulations, and any specific requirements that your fireplace vent and installation must adhere to.

Natural vent gas fireplace

A natural vent fireplace – also known as a B vent – takes in combustion air and vents products out via a brick and mortar chimney or pipe venting system installed through the roof. Some natural vent options have a sensor to extinguish the fire in the event of exhaust gases escaping.

This type of vent is not very efficient, although vent pipe runs are flexible and they do provide the most attractive flame pattern.

Power vent gas fireplace

This involves the installation of a fan-powered accessory positioned alongside the vent to boost the exchange of air. It can be fitted on a freestanding wall, for example, and can allow for longer vent runs, but is a less popular option.

Getting to Know Vent-Free Appliances

The terms ventless gas fireplace or vent-free gas fireplace are applied to hearth appliances that burn gas and don’t need any kind of chimney or vent system. Vent-free hearth products can be installed without venting up a chimney or to the exterior of the home. So, you can place them virtually anywhere except for bathrooms and bedrooms.

Due to air quality concerns, vent-free fireplaces are designed to burn extremely cleanly. And sensors will automatically cut off the system if oxygen levels in the room become unsafe.

Your Choice of Vented or Ventless Fireplaces

Vent vs ventless gas fireplaces – see more information here…

Vented gas fireplaces:

  • Have a better burn with a controlled temperature resulting in a realistic flame pattern
  • Are available in a wide variety of styles, designs, and sizes
  • Have valves that control the gas flow to the fireplace creating a safe environment
  • Provide greater installation flexibility and higher efficiency rates
  • May produce less heat than the ventless option

Ventless gas fireplaces:

  • Provide much better heat output
  • Create less pollution and slightly less gas consumption
  • May produce a noticeable smell coming from the burner
  • Can cause problems in small rooms with harmless water vapour creating condensation
  • Burn cleanly and don’t produce the more realistic flame effects as seen in a vented fireplace

Bear in mind that choosing the right venting system is essential for both proper performance and safety. If you have any doubts get in touch with a professional gas fireplace installer.